Alex Enumah in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission will soon invite the deposed Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, to defend himself against charges of impropriety in an alleged N2.2 billion land scam.
The scam was said to have involved the sale of some hectares of land in Darmanawa Phase I and II and Bubbugaji in Kano.
A source close to the commission told THISDAY at the weekend that the evidence before it is adequate to warrant the invitation and investigation of the deposed emir along with others involved in the land deal.
Also at the weekend, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), refuted claims that he was behind the removal of the former emir.
The anti-graft agency had on March 5 granted extension for the appearance of Sanusi before it to March 9, but a Federal High Court in Kano presided over by Justice Lewis Allagoa restrained the commission from investigating the deposed emir over the alleged scam.
But the source told THISDAY that the commission will go ahead to invite the former monarch, relying on the binding decision of the Court of Appeal, which affirmed the agency’s powers to investigate allegations of corruption against any person in the state as decided in the case of Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission & 1 IRS V. Baba Salisu and 26 ors), 2019 LPELR 47107 CA.
He said the documents before the commission were enough to indict the deposed emir and others involved, and charge them to court for corruption.
“Investigation is still ongoing; some companies were invited by the commission. The deposed emir will soon be invited to clear himself of an allegation of illegal sale of government property and the new allegation is not related to the previous investigation. The dethronement of Sanusi as Emir of Kano will not stop the commission from carrying out its duties on the ongoing investigation of the alleged land scam. The commission now has a fertile ground to carry out its investigation without any interference,” he said.
He added that the fresh investigation is different from the pending matter on alleged mismanagement of N3.4 billion emirate funds, for which the commission had earlier submitted its report to the state government.
The agency had in 2019 recommended the suspension of the emir over mismanagement of the emirate funds.
The Chairman of the commission, Mr. Muhuyi Rimingado, had also said the agency was empowered to open fresh investigation on anybody found wanting, saying that the former emir had a case to answer.
He said: “I wish to categorically state that this commission is entering a new investigation brought forward by a whistleblower on 29th December 2019, and is not related to an earlier investigation, which is still subject matter of civil suit.
“Preliminary findings suggest that, a company; Country Wide House Limited, served as a corporate vehicle to allegedly launder the sum of over N2billion being proceeds of several hectares of land in Darmanawa Phase I and II and Bubbugaji, under the former right of occupancy CON-RESS 2016-503 illegally sold to Messer Family Home Fund Limited at the alleged instance of His Highness the Emir of Kano.
“Investigation further reveals that some of the proceeds of the sales remitted to the emirate council bank account can be traced to the companies of interest to His Highness.”
The deposed emir, had on March 6, filed an ex-parte motion before the court against the commission (1st respondent), Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, Attorney General of Kano State and the governor as 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents, respectively.
Sanusi, through his counsel led by Mr. Nureini Jimoh, asked the court to restrain the first and second respondents from investigating him, pending the hearing of the originating motion.
Justice Allagoa granted the request and directed that the status quo be maintained in the interim pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.